This is an imaginary scene depicting a house where my Aunt Gem and her family never lived when I was very young. Allow me to clarify:
Aunt Gem really lived in Westminster when I was little. But I had vague memories of her living in a big old house off of Beach Blvd in Huntington Beach. Back then, it was mostly open farmland and weedy, marshy country. I somehow suspected that this memory was way out in left field, and was always afraid to verify it with Dad or Mom, lest I be proven wrong.
One day maybe thirty years ago I finally asked, and learned what I had feared: she had never lived in such a place. I now suspect that I had dreamt the whole thing and remembered it as reality. The image remained with me, and I decided to paint a portrait of the place. It should have been a day scene, with slanting afternoon sun and a white clapboard house on a knoll against a blue coastal sky. Kind of Andrew-Wyeth-y. But I was firmly entrenched in my night-painting genre and decided to stick with that.
The family has left, moved away to their stucco tract home a few miles inland. They left the key on the windowsill inside, forgot to turn off the porch light and shut the door. When you leave such a place, you do so hurriedly and you don't look back...your heart would make you turn around.